Tuesday, February 9, 2010

star wars and daisies.

In honor of the holiday I love the least, this week I’m sharing some of my own relationship mishaps (relationship is a term to be used, in this case, very loosely) with the blog world. If nothing else, these stories remind me: Thank goodness I married Jordan.


By nature, I am an introvert. Myers-Briggs told me so. Adulthood has given me more outgoing genes, but for the most part, I am still a quiet soul.

An introvert, I believe, also begins life as a “late bloomer.” I loathe that term, but there really is no better description for a girl who didn’t wear makeup until practically forced by her mother to do so at age 16. Late bloomers, it is well known, do not often have the most active love lives, because in high school, the rules are fairly simple: If you don’t pay attention to boys, they won’t pay attention to you. And I had no interest in the opposite sex. None. I wasn’t about to toss my hair or blink my eyes or—oh the thought!—ask for help on homework if I didn’t need it. So I continued to bloom in my own time, blissfully unaware of how cute the quarterback of the football team was or who was dating whom.

While my head was bent over my desk lost in a good book, I failed to realize the other rule of teenage romance. Late bloomer boys inevitably pay attention—a lot of attention—to late bloomer girls, setting the entire platonic dynamic I’d built for myself entirely off kilter.

Enter Tom.*

Tom was your stereotypical class nerd. Actually, worse.

Slightly overweight, Tom wore pleated jeans with striped polo shirts buttoned to the top button. He constantly looked as though he were choking. His backpack was bursting at the seams, undoubtedly filled with physics and advanced placement materials. His white sneakers were always pristine, probably washed painstakingly by his mother.

Tom and I hung in the same crowd. Nerds stick together, and why not? In high school, it’s another unspoken guideline, and one I happily obliged. I enjoyed my nerdy friends, Tom included.

But soon Tom started to take that dreaded step in the wrong direction, and rather boldly.

It began in the tenth grade with an invitation to see Star Wars. An invitation I never saw coming. Tom and I were standing outside, waiting for our mothers to pick us up. (The joys of being a late bloomer include not being able to drive until everyone else your age has received a license.) Our conversation went something like this:

Tom: Hey, Annie.

Annie: Hi, Tom. How’s it going?

T: Great. Listen, I was wondering… Do you like Star Wars?

A (thinking): Yeah, I think they’re okay. I’ve watched them with my brother, and they’re not bad.

T (a look of excitement, joy, and awe mixed across his unibrow): Really? Well, then, I was wondering something else.

A (distracted): Sure. What’s up?

T: Well, would you consider going with me to see the new Star Wars sometime next week?

A (whipping head around, confused): Um. I don’t know. A crowd gathers, and I realize that I have just been asked out on my first date. This is worse than I imagined. In fact, this is nothing like I have ever imagined. “Let me check my schedule, and I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

My mom pulled up, exactly five minutes too late, and I rushed to the car, trying not to burst into giggles at the humility and humor of it all.

I came back to school the next day with a politely rehearsed “No, thank you.”

Unfortunately, late bloomers are persistent.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day, eleventh grade. My friends and I were sitting together, reading our assignment and grumbling every time another member of the cheerleading squad got called to the front office for a bouquet of flowers. “Lame,” I thought. Until I heard my own name scratchily come through the speakers.

In my entire life, I had never received anything at the front office. That was for the popular kids, the ones who got cars on their 16th birthday.

I grabbed a hall pass and entered the office, where a beautiful bouquet of daisies was waiting for me amidst the pungent red roses. My friend raced in the door behind me, adding to my excitement. “Who are they from?” she squealed. Late bloomer or not, all sorts of ideas were running through my head. I’m pretty sure this was my train of thought:

The quarterback? Maybe that guy I hang out with after school? Someone from church? Oh, I hope it’s not Mom and Dad. This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing they would do, but what if…Oh no. What? No. There’s a mistake. What? What?? WHAT?!?! Whhhhyyyy??

Oh yes. Dear old Tom. Tom, who had patiently been waiting for me to grow up and realize my love for him. Tom had sent me flowers. Tom.

I left the flowers sitting in the office in shame and walked back to class, where Tom would undoubtedly be waiting for my reaction. I felt sick. I entered with a smile, but kept my face in a book, preparing myself for the next class, where Tom and I were seated right next to each other.

Curse that alphabetical seating chart.

Sure enough, Tom’s sheepish grin was waiting on me when I arrived. “So… What’d you think?”

Play dumb, Annie. Play dumb. “About what?”

Poor Tom’s look of concern was almost more than I could bear. “Didn’t you get…” he began to whisper. “The flowers?”

I switched to a different tactic. Playing dumb was clearly not working in my favor. “Oh yes! The flowers! They were beautiful!” I hoped I sounded pleased, but not overly so. This was a fine line I was playing with. To avoid crushing someone's spirits and avoid becoming their crush, all at the same time.

Tom lowered his voice once more, and I began to feel creeped out. “I know daisies are your favorite.”

Oh dear. “Aw. Well thanks. How’d you know that?” Seriously. How did he know that?

“I overheard you a couple of years ago talking to Morgan about You’ve Got Mail. They’re Meg Ryan’s favorite too.”

Creeper alert. Clearly the bud had never been nipped, and now I had a crisis on my hands. ABORT. ABORT. How on earth did Tom remember a conversation I had had with my friend TWO YEARS AGO? This was a problem that Judy Blume does not address. So I raised my hand and did what every girl does in times of crisis.

I went to the bathroom.

When I came back, Tom was preoccupied with tangents, sines, and cosines.

For the time being.

*Names changed to protect the semi-innocent. It should also be noted that Tom is now probably a multi-millionaire somewhere, as is the case with most late bloomers. Except for me.

{This post inspired by this hilarious lady.}


mom said...

I'm honestly crying from laughing so hard!!! I remember it like it was yesterday! I hope Morgan reads your blog today; it will surely make her day too :)
Promise promise promise you will write your novel one day! Of course, dedicated to your mother no doubt ~ :) xxoo

jenna said...

Oh my word!! That is HILARIOUS!! Wow... gotta love those kinds of awkward stories...

TheOneTrueSue said...

"ABORT. ABORT. How on earth did Tom remember a conversation I had had with my friend TWO YEARS AGO? This was a problem that Judy Blume does not address." Hilarious, my friend. Thanks for playing along :)

Melinda said...

I love it! Hysterical!! Totally cracked me up, I love the line after the "I know daisies are your favorite." Creeper. hahahahaha Too funny!

Anonymous said...

Poor Tom. A stalker before stalking was cool. You should find him and find out just how rich, and probably gorgeous, he has become!

Jordan Jones said...

Wow...this is hilarious. Interestingly enough, I like Star Wars too...and I'm nerdy...the resemblances are UNCANNY.

Betsy said...

Wow, that's such a great story! It had me laughing all the way through. You definitely have a God-given gift with a pen...who knows, maybe you'll write a wonderful memoir book one day (much like those inspiring memoirs that you've mentioned in previous posts)!

Anonymous said...

You went to the bathroom? That is an act of pure tactical genius. Never in my dating life did I ever have that much self-possession. It's so nice that he finally took the hint, too. A happy ending, all things considered.

(Hi, I'm Zina and I followed the Mr. Linky from Navel Gazing.)

chet said...

and it was Tom who went on to create myspace.